27 Sep 2018

27th September 2018 Emergency ponds are the next big thing.

*
Thursday 27th 57F, light winds and heavy overcast. More gales with rain later. Walked up to the woods, and back by the main track. The lawn-like appearance of the fields is an optical illusion. Close to, the "grass" is really quite sparse.

I watched as flocks of birds circled over the prairie. Some were small shore birds judging from their calls and cranked wings.

The wind is picking up steadily and the skies remain resolutely grey but still holding off on the promised rain.   

Denmark is busy building emergency drainage ponds for combating heavy rainfall. One pond made the national news because it was dug in a public park. There are lots of them locally after extensive roadworks including a major drainage and district heating scheme. Plus new cycle paths and lanes on both sides of the resurfaced road.

 These ponds are usually dug on roadside farmland. One of the larger ponds has even been decorated with planted trees, a perimeter gravel path and water plants. The ducks and coots have already moved in. No doubt this pond forms emergency drainage for the industrial estate on the hill above. 

Being so relatively flat Denmark is presumably at greater danger from local flooding. Somebody is obviously worried about an increased risk of extreme rainfall in the climactic future. Not sure what plans they have for rising sea level. Most of the major Danish cities are on the coast or estuaries.

Trikes are an excellent answer to shallow flooding provided one's feet aren't submerged on the lower pedal stroke. Lowered bottom brackets are so yesterday when there is an increased risk of flooding. One can ride as slowly as one wishes without the balance problems of a bike. Dunlop Wellies on a racing trike? Probably not, unless you change the pedals to [diving] platforms for potentially wet days. Winter mountain bike boots, anybody?

You never know when you'll need to ford a flood. The Tricycle Association holds regular rides involving fords. Tricycle Fording at the next Winter Olympics? Rubber clothing optional? I can already feel my very first bout of asthma coming on. So must alert the doctor to my "special needs" to remain competitive into ripe old age.

Friday 28th 57F, a mostly sunny day but breezy. 40 minute walk. No ride.

Saturday 29th 39F, calm, quite cloudy but with some blue sky. It was quite breezy by the time I left for a Saturday shopping ride. Returned heavily laden after 15 miles altogether into a cross headwind.

Sunday 30th 52F, windy with a very heavy overcast. Suddenly lots of pheasants about. Presumably just released from their raising pens in time for the annual slaughter season. The wild ones have very smart plumage. The bred ones look like the scraggy caged chickens at an industrial production plant.



Click on any image for an enlargement.


*

25 Sep 2018

25th September 2018 Fetch the EV, Lurch! I'm flying off to preach on climate!

*

Tuesday 25th 39-57F, calm and sunny. My usual walk to the lanes. It is amazing how quickly the fields go green after sewing. Too busy so no ride today. 45mph winds again tomorrow with rain after lunch.

Wednesday 26th 55F, overcast with gales.

It just gets weirder and weirder. Strictly Twilight Zone weird. Last time I looked the Danish right wing government almost doubled the price of all electric cars with 180% import duties. At the same time they are heavily promoting Big Wind Power.

Where Big Money gets to profit from sky high electricity bills and ruin people's lives with flickering wind farms. As in Pig Farms. Industrialized production and forget [all] the consequences. [And, still with 17 "green taxes" attached to every quarterly bill.] Big Money's <cough> "offshore" generation often has to be dumped below cost onto the European grid. This happens whenever wind generation exceeds the country's immediate needs. Since only the rich can afford electricity this happens far more than you'd expect.

You'd think this imbalance was a case of outright lunacy, tragicomedy, or simply corruption. Oh, the wonderful irony! When the potential for mass storage might have existed in a large fleet of privately owned electric vehicles by now.

Guess what The Populist's answer is to this drooling idiocy? Cut the price of electricity to hugely wasteful summer houses. The more they waste the cheaper it gets! It's called Grid Battery Storage. [Or Greed and  BullShit with present sky storage technology.] Heat the sky over the summer house blight and all will be well. Strictly for the birds. Dugh!

One politicooze party is now advocating subsidizing electric car buyers to the tune of up to £5000 [equivalent.] What a brilliant idea! Double the price of EVs at the Danish border. Then toss some drought-ridden corn husks to those who can still afford to buy an electric car. It's just like a bank robber tossing a few coins onto the floor as they leave.

Whatever happened to benign Scandinavian socialism and care for the environment? It was sacrificed on the altar of pretending to combat mass immigration with a huge lurch to the "greed is good" AGW doesn't exist, equality is only for the weak, extreme right wing.

The funniest part of all this? The same coalition leader flies off regularly to preach warm green thoughts to international climate conferences and heads of state feasts. Guess who isn't even close to matching national CO2 to past climate meeting promises?  Guess who, despite all the populist election promises, suffers armed, gang warfare on the streets of major cities? Surely not Denmark? Happiest land under the [half baked] sun.   


Click on any image for an enlargement.


*

24 Sep 2018

24th Septermber 2018 On the domestication of wilful tricycles.

*

Monday 24th 46F, cool and bright but cloudy and windy. Too cold for a long walk thanks to the wind roaring in the trees. I could actually have worn thin gloves today. It was marginally uncomfortable with bare hands for the first time this autumn.

Several large fields are growing what looks like neat rows of dense tufts of grass. To make it even more strange the tops have just been mown. This is not an area where animals spend any time out of doors. So it can't be for grazing. Though it could well be for fodder. Or a green compost crop.

The image shows how modern sewing machinery can achieve perfectly straight lines completely regardless of the terrain. This 1000 yard, uphill view has been deliberately foreshortened by the camera zoom.

I wonder how many tricyclists know that lifting both rear wheels allows a trike to follow its hostler in a perfectly straight line backwards? There must be many an errant trike which is shoved into a tight spot, head first. But which must then be walked out backwards. Leave the rear wheels on the ground and the recalcitrant beast will go where it may. Lift the rear wheels by the rims and it is instantly domesticated. Lifting by the rims is easily done even in the presence of an Abus Medieval Ship's Anchor. There is absolutely no need to soil one's gloves or mitts if one avoids the noisome tyres.

Similarly, there is no need to struggle past the hind quarters of a broad gauge, iron horse in a confined space. Simply lift a foot and step over the axle inside a rear wheel. This is easily done regardless of the presence of a saddle bag, with, or without a rear rack.

Naturally one will be careful not to scratch the paintwork with a clumsy shoe plate during this maneuver. It might be best to practice at home before startling an unprepared public. The thin veneer of civilization is as soon punctured as a tubular tyre.

I have used both acrobatic techniques for managing my trikes at close quarters for years. In the privacy of densely packed sheds and in crowded, public cycle racks outside supermarkets and shopping malls. All it requires is a firm hand. Or rather, two.

Click on any image for an enlargement.
*

17 Sep 2018

17th September 2018 Wet and windy.

*

Monday 17th 60-68F, light breeze and overcast. Rain possible. Walked to the village and back. Traffic light. Cloud heavy but still dry. Shopping ride after morning coffee. Only 7 miles. Brightened later with a pleasant 68F and a cooling breeze.

Tuesday 18th 58-74F, sunny with a light breeze. It could be unusually warm today. It reached a sunny but windy 74F mid-afternoon. Too busy for a ride.

Wednesday 19th 61-70F, breezy and overcast. Watched muscular tractors preparing and sewing the local prairies. The fields had lots of wagtails chasing each other about. Or just looking for breakfast. The sun tried to break through but gave up the struggle. A warm and pleasant afternoon but no ride.

Thursday 20th 61F heavy overcast with showers. A long, wet and busy day without a ride.

Friday 21st 60F Rain and gales as a storm passes over northern Denmark. Already blowing hard at 8.30am. Not expected to peak until this afternoon but now promises to be only 20m/s or 45mph locally. It started off at 25m/s which is over 50mph but has gradually come down. I stayed dry for my walk as I was buffeted by the wind. The birds seemed to relish it as they dashed about pulling ridiculous twists and turns. Except for one crow which really struggled to reach the ground.

Saturday 22nd 51-60?F, changeable, showers, sunshine and rather windy. It stayed dry for my walk but there were heavy showers all morning. Later in the afternoon it turned pleasantly sunny. Too busy for a ride.

Sunday 23rd 46F, light winds, cloudy with bright spots. Enjoyed a loop up to the top of the local hill and back down by the edges of the fields. An excellent view all around was interrupted, at intervals, by nine different deer dashing off from the cover of the few remaining hedges. They obviously haven't adapted to the modern, industrialized prairies, when there is absolutely no crop cover.  Or they would stay put and safe from the hunters. While I was watching the one in the image, through my binoculars, three more bounded off across the field. I saw two male Kestrels too.


Click on any image for an enlargement.

*

14 Sep 2018

14th September 2018 Toxic fields, forever.

*
Friday 14th 53-58F, light breeze, bright start but cloudy with a risk of showers. A 40 minute walk dodging mobile phones permanently welded to drivers' ears. A bird of prey was calling for breakfast as it circled overhead.

A minor political party is suggesting taking 1/3 of fields out of industrial "toxic crop" production and returning it to nature, forestry or climate/socially beneficial use.

An interesting idea but infinitely unlikely to become law. After all, the only people allowed to vote in Danish elections are pig farmers and huge industrialized [toxic] landholders.

How do I know? 250 public water supply boreholes had to be taken out of production this year alone as toxicity levels exceeded those allowed. The Danish Toxic Cocktail parties aren't interested in stopping poisoning so there will be no change.

Late morning ride to the shops against the cross-headwind. Returning with the wind once heavily laden. Only 7 miles as the sky became overcast. It rained heavily in the afternoon.

Saturday 15th 53F,  bright but very cloudy. Showers possible. Did my usual 40 minute, minimum walk to the lanes. Two large deer were resting against a hedge two fields over. The traffic was light. Busy all day.

Sunday 16th 49F, breezy and bright. Scattered showers or rain possible. I am aching all over from the ongoing building work. Walked to the far woods under a threatening sky. Only a light sprinkle of rain as I returned home. Heard the first shots of the new hunting season.


Click on any image for an enlargement.
*

12 Sep 2018

12 September 2018 There are none so dumb as commuters.

*

Wednesday 12th 55F, breezy, heavy overcast with rain promised. I walked to the marsh and then looped up though the firebreaks in the forest and back along the main track. There were hundreds of Mallard ducks on the marsh pond. I kept my head down and walking briskly and they seemed not to mind my presence too much.

If I stop they usually all panic and rush for the far side.  No doubt a race memory of hunting as the ground is usually littered with spent cartridges. The rain steadily increased throughout my good hour's outing. Until I could feel every drop hitting my jacket.

Was allowed out for a ride after the rain stopped. Still a rough and gusty wind. I tried to spend as much time out of the saddle as possible. Not that it helps when one's drag increases so much. Simply from standing up while riding straight into the wind. 22 miles.

Thursday 13th 45F, calm, clear and sunny. Having risen at 6.30 I went for my morning walk much earlier than usual. Is there any more secure confirmation of collective, human lunacy and idiocy than commuting?

While ambling along the main road I was watching wagtails forage on the roadside field. My attention was drawn, with my one good ear, to the sound of a car engine racing. The road is humped just there so that approaching vehicles are often completely invisible from certain places. Imagine my surprised to see a blue car, full of young people, overtaking another car despite the continuous double white lines for miles/kilometers.

Rather than have the overtaken vehicle pull out and perhaps cause an accident, I jumped onto the rough verge to let them both pass. The speeding car quickly disappeared from view around the next sharp bend.

There are several homes and two blind gravel exits with multiple homes on this stretch. I often see the occupants leave for work or to take their children to school. There is no way they would be prepared for a car travelling at 80mph along this twisting and undulating road.

To drive at this speed would be absolute lunacy! In fact I have only ever seen one other raving lunatic do so in all the time I have been here. But hey! The lunatic gained one place in the queue to intensive care! So that's alright then.

Coming back the same way, a quarter of an hour later, I was nearly wiped off the road by a huge container lorry. The middle aged driver had completely overcooked a blind, sharp bend. One which is clearly marked with a huge, horizontal chevron sign probably six feet long.

Note that this image shows no criminality. To publish images of criminality in Denmark is to be prosecuted and fined many times more than the criminals themselves! 

He clipped the outside grass verge only a few yards ahead of me and throwing up a cloud of dust. I jumped onto the verge and moved back as quickly I could. Anything to avoid him having to swerve around me while cornering at the very limit. I was quite prepared to dive though the hedge if need be. Remind me to leave later if this is the normal behaviour for the driving, clinically insane!


Click on any image for an enlargement.
*

10 Sep 2018

10th September 2018. Skråfoto: A superb new and free, Danish aerial imagery service.

*

Monday 10th 62F, breezy and overcast. Showers or rain, possibly clearing later. It stayed dry for my walk up to the woods and back across the prairie. Where three large tractor were busy ploughing, raking and sewing.m I took lots of pictures trying to get all three in the view but failed. I took this final image from across the fields on the walk back.

It looked too threatening for a ride today but it still didn't rain. Tomorrow's forecast is wet all day! I'd better stock up on sun cream and work on my tan.

Tuesday 11th 56F, heavy overcast and steady rain all day. It seems there will be an end to prepubescent, Danish supermarket staff after the combined management of several conjoined chains has called for an end to the [illegal] practice to avoid fines. A horribly wet and overcast day and quite windy.

Denmark has a new and free online aerial image service. Called Skråfoto [Oblique-photo?] it covers Denmark with nicely sharp images from Cardinal viewpoints. NSEW.

Only Danish keyboards offer the correct letters for a search so I have linked below. I'm not sure whether this will work outside Denmark. If not try searching for skraafoto.

 SDFE Skråfoto

The service is provided by the Danish Data Research and Effectivity Department. 

I have added images here starting with a screen grab showing Egeskov Palace. A popular tourist attraction on Central Fyn with transport museums and varied gardens, etc. Well worth a visit!

Multiple angles are shown as large thumbnails around a map. Each viewpoint can be changed to full screen and zoomed in. The imagery seems to be mostly from spring of 2017 so that the trees are bare and more detail can be seen on the ground. Figures are clearly seen on the streets of Copenhagen when I had a quick look at Amalienborg [royal] Palace.

Previous [free on demand] aerial imagery services have almost always seen from almost overhead. The aerial imagery and Street View of Google Earth are often years old in Denmark. Which greatly reduces its usefulness. 

Then there is Grundkort [Ground Map] run by the Fynske Kommune. Fyn's city Councils. This leaves Google for dead on image quality but is again, usually viewed only from overhead.

Grundkort too is completely free on demand for those with an internet connection. Many layers can be added for those who need to know their coordinates, terrain, property lines, etc. All a very far cry from paying through the nose for a dated and poorly detailed, paper map of 20 years ago!

Grundkort aerial images are updated annually and retained as a "clickable" list alongside the open image. Which makes checking changes very easy. No doubt useful for the council checking who is cheating with a vast new extension on the back of their house. Conversely, it is very easy to see who keeps their garden tidy behind the concealing hedges! Family arguments about the age some new feature are soon resolved.

Talking of time, there is also an excellent, historical, aerial image service run by the Royal Copenhagen Library. Many Danish properties were photographed by private aerial photography services going right back to WW2 in some cases. Their vast archives have been digitized and made freely available online. They use a clever system of thumbnail images down the left border of the aerial view with clear markers showing where images are available. This can sometimes mean borrowing an aerial view of the local farm or other house accidentally showing your own property next door. 

It is fascinating to see how the majority of Danish rural properties were still thatched back in the 1950s. This often changed to corrugated asbestos cement sheeting when thatching became too expensive for most home owners. Some of the images are even in colour from the 1980s onwards. The public can access the website and correct details after registering.

Back to Skråfoto: A closer view of Egeskov Slot [Palace] at about half zoom. I have had to downsize all of these images for the blog so I am seeing far better quality on my own 23" screen. While it would be rather difficult to recognise any particular individual, vehicles are certainly seen with considerable detail.

I can imagine Skråfoto having a major impact on Estate Agents' property websites. In addition to a gallery of external and internal photos they sometimes provide their own imagery from photo drones for expensive rural properties. This service is obviously not usually possible in towns and cities or any area where drone flying is forbidden. It also demands the property has enough value to warrant the effort and expense.  There was a fad for taking pictures from tall poles but these lacked drama compared with a drone.

It is fascinating to see how the technology has developed and been taken up by government, local authorities and commerce. Which often directly impacts beneficially on the public. Many Danish businesses have websites these days and usually have a map and directions service added. This has usually been ageing and tired old Google Earth. Often with Street View where available [often extremely limited and very dated in Denmark]. Though Google SV is hardly useful if a business property has changed hands several times in the meantime. It hardly sells the current business if some other name is on the shop front or big shed facade!

Click on any image for an enlargement.

*

9 Sep 2018

9th September 2018 Hard core entitlement?

 *

Sunday 9th 57-65?F, windy and wet again with a little sunshine between the clouds. There was only a light sprinkle of rain as I walked to the village and back in a gusty wind. I was actually glad for my jacket today. Which was a first.

Later I rode to more distant shops via the new cycle lanes and paths for 15 miles.

Only one "special" car driver thought themselves entitled enough to park right across the cycle path today. Perhaps it was that [now] famous Danish actor? The one who used to stand in the middle of the road outside the city theater. Just in case a Hollywood producer thought his presence commanding enough for a lead role. It worked too! Though I wonder whether the Hollywood producer had to honk three times [as I did]. Just to get the "entitled" actor to step aside from his commanding performance. While simultaneously blocking the road.

Meanwhile, back on the cycle paths, I am left wondering how the law stands on removing private gravel moraines from public cycle paths. Several houses with adjoining drives were letting their gravel flow freely across the paths to the tune of many wheelbarrow loads. This has been going on for a couple of years and no attempt has been made by the [former] owners of the gravel, nor the council, to tidy it all up.

If I pulled up in my car, with the trailer attached, could I shovel up all this "decorative" gravel over-spill? It would only take a few hours working at a good pace. Similarly, a plant grower's field is still spilling lorry loads of sand across the cycle path into the newly laid road drains. Like gravel, I can always use a bit of sand on garden projects. I could call it negative desertification and perhaps get a Nobel Prize? You never know.

Perhaps I should get the car out and save myself a few quid? I'd have to be careful not to collect any of the hundreds of yards of 4" thick, farmer's mud laid neatly along the cycle paths, in case it is [really, really] toxic. The Head Gardener wouldn't like that at all. Not even if she could raise the lower garden levels by several meters almost completely free of charge. Naturally I wouldn't charge for my landscaping efforts once I got it all home. Hiring a digger [and driver] would only add to the cost.

One senile old git is still raking the decorative gravel from his [slightly narrowed] verge directly onto the cycle path. He uses a ride-on tractor in revenge for losing a foot wide strip of his priceless verge to the public cycle path. Since he still owns a vast acreage of land he obviously thinks himself fully entitled to be quite cross. He's obviously one of those Fynonions, whom the Copenhageners call "Special."

The new road drains still aren't working on the edge of the distant village. So any cyclists, without life jackets or water wings in their front baskets, have to swerve out into the traffic. Just to avoid the now permanent, unheated, open air, public, swimming pool. I'm still half expecting a water slide and high diving board to appear overnight. But expect council funds are too tight. What with the price of original Danish modern [hideous daubs] art and [uncomfortable] dead, Danish, architect designer furniture for their own swanky offices.

Talking of hard core: The village gutters [AKA: heavily rutted cycle lanes] are  now heavily overflowing again with sand, gravel, compost, fallen trees and boulders. So that I am sorely tempted to tip off the National Museum about the very obvious, prehistoric, fossil bones sticking out at intervals.

Not that they will take any notice of an invandre [immigrant] on the [pidgin] phone. They will have to wait for a real [speeding] Dane to puncture on one of the fossil bones before they will send a field team out to do a proper dig. I must admit to being quite shocked that I don't see more metal detector enthusiasts working the high street debris in search of Viking artifacts. Perhaps the constantly speeding traffic puts them off? I know it would me.


Click on any image for an enlargement.
*

3 Sep 2018

3rd September 2018 It's them solar panels, innit?

*

Monday 3rd 60-72F, breezy and rather cloudy. Expected to brighten up later.

I spotted a tractor raking the prairie so headed in that direction for some pictures. Such large fields need machinery to match its sheer scale.

It did gradually brighten as I went on, up through the woods. To exit down the steep track to the next village and back along the road.

Seemingly curious swallows flew around me on the descent but soon returned to their aerial breakfast. A warm and pleasant day. Too busy for a ride.

Tuesday 4th 70F, sunny and warm after a cloudy start. Shopped in the car for big and heavy stuff.

Wednesday 5th 58-72F sunny and still. Walk shortened by field spraying ahead. No ride today.

Why aren't solar panels available in different colours? There was a piece on solar farms on UK TV complaining about their being a vast, uniform eyesore. If they were completely transparent they could show the shrubbery behind them. Assuming they had any. If they were variable green nobody would notice if they bordered the edges of fields, motorways and country roads. Or the roofs of shopping and industrial estate, big sheds.

Thursday 6th 59-72F, calm, clear and sunny. Another busy day so no ride.

Friday 7th 61F, breezy and still raining after heavy overnight rain. Expected to clear but with scattered  showers.

Saturday 8th 54-58F, cool and windy with heavy showers for most of the day. "Nul points."
 
Click on any image for an enlargement.
*

1 Sep 2018

1st September 2018 Endangered species?

*

Saturday 1st September 50-65F, misty and calm. The mist was very thick at 7am but soon cleared. I returned from my walk in warm sunshine @ 58F. I'm being allowed out for an early shopping ride. And was. Back in time for morning coffee and wholegrain rolls with marmalade. Only 7 miles.

Elderberries. 

Sunday 2nd 55-67F, sunny with light winds. Another warm walk in bright sunshine. Two kittens were playing outside a house so I stopped to say hello. A day of clouds and sunshine reaching about 67F. No ride today.

Denmark seems to be having an epidemic of speeding offences. 6900 drivers were pulled over in only two weeks at the start of the school term following the summer holidays.

Last year well over 1.5 million drivers were caught speeding out of a total population of only 5.7 million. Over half of whom must be under age children. Probably another quarter of whom are too old to drive or don't even own a car. Many Danish city dwellers choose not to own a car. 46% of Danes own a car. 41% do not. Only 20% of commuting is done by bicycle.

So desperate for visitor numbers, he was reduced to posting pictures of fluffy kittens.  😉

These figures must be measured against the very small number of operational, police camera vans. Or police personnel standing beside the road with a handheld radar gun. There are still only a tiny number of speed cameras in Denmark. The police tend to site their main "speeding" activities near schools and roadworks. Which is even more worrying for the statistics.

It has even been suggested that Denmark, which considers itself a major cycling country, should now limit children riding to school until they are at least ten to twelve years old. It now being considered too dangerous to cycle to school here. What with all the speeding motorists delivering their [often] obese, unhappy and unfit offspring to the school gates.

The speed limit in Denmark is 50kph - 30mph - in built up areas and 80kph - 50 mph - on most country roads. Not that you'd ever know it. To drive at the legal speed limit in Denmark is to quickly discover that you are an endangered species.


Click on any image for an enlargement.
*